Two Consumer-Focused Stocks on the Move

In the following segment from a recent Motley Fool Industry Focus podcast show, our team provides brief pitches for investing in two popular consumer goods stocks that are exhibiting strength at the outset of 2019. Host Jason Moser sketches out the bull case for warehouse club giant Costco (NASDAQ: COST), which has gained 12% year to date, while contributor Asit Sharma explains why he still likes online furniture retailer Wayfair (NYSE: W), even after an astounding 85% share price leap thus far in 2019. Click below to hear the case for buying both of these quality stocks now.

A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on March 5, 2019.

Jason Moser: What's one stock you've got your eye on these days?

Asit Sharma: I'm looking closely at Wayfair. I just added that to my Motley Fool Caps collection. If you're not familiar with the Caps, it's an online stock investing game. Check it out! It's a really great way to learn. People like Jason, knowledgeable people who you respect, will put pitches, and you can see why a person wants to buy a particular stock, or why they think it's a thumbs-down, might go down vs. the S&P. I love playing Caps, and I added Wayfair. This is the online retailing furniture company. Longtime listeners may remember, we talked about this on a show, feels like a couple of years ago now. What an interesting concept it is. Wayfair is trying to basically compete against companies like Amazon, but just in the furniture market for now. It's doing so by going after as much market share as it can.

Here's my pitch. I really like Wayfair, even after a recent earnings, the stock has shot up to all-time highs. It's expanding its European logistics network and concentrating on Germany. Now, you won't see many companies do this. When you hear CEOs talk about global expansion, they're like, "We're going in China! We're going in Europe! We're going in Africa! And yeah, we're going into Latin America, folks!" I really like Wayfair's approach. They are concentrating on Germany, which has a total addressable market that's even bigger than Canada, which is the second market the company entered. They're developing a true platform for sellers, furniture wholesalers and manufacturers, which actually gives data back to the sellers and lets them know which pieces consumers preferred.

This is hard to do in the furniture business, but they have a distribution logistics network that will take a piece of furniture from basically the manufacturer's door all the way to your living room. It's a proprietary network. Has two components. One is called CastleGate, that's more their logistics arm, and WDN is their last-mile delivery network. They are doubling down on these facilities in the U.S. in major metropolitan areas this year, grabbing as much market share as possible. Yes, they're running at losses, but this is an Amazon-like company. They will have time in the future to pull back a little bit if they need to and show some profit.

I am a terrible market timer. It is trading at an all-time high. But when I see a company that is really going after and conquering a market, rather than try to time it, I like to buy it and just ignore the volatility.

Now, folks, please don't send me tweets next week or the week after. "Hey, Asit, I bought Wayfair at $150. It's at $120. What do I do?" I won't know what to tell you. I'll probably tell you, just hold and ignore the volatility. That's my two-, maybe three-minute pitch. There you go!

Moser: Talk about businesses that have gotten a few of my dollars, Wayfair is another one. I tell you, I like it too. It's that retail company in this day and age, it all really is just a network. They don't carry any inventory on that balance sheet, and it gives them an opportunity to connect buyers and sellers. That's a good one!

I'm going to go a little bit more the traditional route this week. Costco has earnings coming out on Thursday, March 7th. That's before the market opens. We were in Austin, Texas, this past week at a Fool event. I got to talk a lot about businesses like Costco and Amazon and Wayfair. It's neat to see how Costco is still doing so well as a traditional retailer in what is becoming very quickly an e-commerce world. It's a membership model, and the focus on really just making sure they give their customers a big, wide selection and the lowest prices possible, it seems to still resonate in this day and age. It has a very loyal base of members that just keep reupping. And if you remember, they did increase that membership price a couple of years ago back in 2017. Those increases take about two years to fully run their way through the books, so I wonder if we won't hear in the next call or two, maybe they're pondering perhaps another small little membership fee raise. They've proven they can do that, and members won't even bat an eye because they get so much value from it.

A well-managed business, one that has done very well for a lot of our investors through the years here. That's the one I'll be looking at this week.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Asit Sharma has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Jason Moser owns shares of Amazon. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and Wayfair. The Motley Fool recommends Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.